FTAN President warns members on strict adherence to boycott of UNWTO conference in Nigeria


President of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria [FTAN], Nkereuwem Onung, has reminded tourism operators and various stakeholders in the allies sector of the resolution of the federation to stay away from the UNWTO first conference on cultural tourism and creative industries, to be hotsed by Nigeria between November 14 and 17 at the National Arts Theatre, Lagos.

The decision to boycott the conference, according to him, is based on the complete neglect of the tourism sector by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, headed by Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

He noted that the height of the neglect of the sector is the failure of the federal government to offer palliative for the sector to rebound from the adverse effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Onung noted that the Nigerian Government silence towards tourism even after it was recorded world-wide that the industry is among the worst hit is unforgivable.

Given the aforementioned, he questioned the rationale of celebrating UNWTO conference on cultural tourism and the creative industries when the government of Nigeria has no regard for the same sector it wants the world to celebrate on its soil.

‘‘An industry so neglected is expected to gather in celebration of the UNWTO conference. What really is there to celebrate? We mustered courage to celebrate the World Tourism Day [WTD] on September 27 because the theme spoke to our reality. We really must rethink tourism,’’ lamented Onung.

As a result, he restated the call for a boycott of the conference, saying that; ‘‘it is against this background that I implore you all to boycott the UNWTO conference because we do not understand its purpose at this time and also because we can’t celebrate with a government that has glaringly ignored the private sector.

‘‘It is clear that the Minister has no regard for the private sector and equally no intentions of enabling the private sector thrive,”” he said even as he stated further that, ” it would have been great to celebrate the rebirth of the industry through the support of the federal government at this conference and lamented the insensitivity of the UNWTO secretariat despite the loud and objection of the private sector operators.’’

He called on members to take advantage of FTAN’s forthcoming Nigeria Tourism Investment Conference and Exhibition [NTIFE 2022], scheduled to hold Tuesday 15th of November 2022 in Abuja.

Onung warned that any member that attend or participate at the UNWTO conference would be heavily sanctioned by the body.

To this end, he charged the members to give attention to the federation’s NTIFE 2022, which is scheduled to hold on November 15 in Abuja, noting that the forum offers the operators the opportunity to interact and engage actively with the buyers and suppliers of travel and the general public while showcasing the various product and service lines on offer by them.

‘‘NTIFE 2022 will enable members to discuss the current position of the industry, particularly around business survival strategies modalities on how to properly engage a new government in 2023″.


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